Exclusive: Pittsburgh musicians are told they may be replacedmain
What began as a musicians strike is now turning into a full-scale lockout.
The following letter has been sent out to all employees, underlining the company’s intention to keep Heinz Hall open ‘for our patrons’. In order to do so, it may require us to hire replacement workers, either on a temporary or permanent basis, as will be determined by the business necessity that we face.
The letter was clearly written by a non-native English speaker.
Here’s the full letter, grammatical mistakes uncorrected, dated October 4:
We had hoped that the PSI and the Pittsburgh Musicians’ Union, Local No. 60-471, could have reached an agreement on all of the terms and conditions for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement without the decision to strike. However, we will continue to work to achieve an Agreement.
This letter is intended to explain your compensation and benefits during the time that you are on strike. All weeks that you have worked up to the date of the first day of the strike, September 30, 2016, that have not been paid, will be paid by us to you at the close of the next payroll period (mandatory deductions apply). No compensation will be paid thereafter.
By reason of this economic strike, as we understand it, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. Existing healthcare benefits were continued to be provided up to the last day of September, 2016. You will receive our standard COBRA letter that will offer healthcare benefit continuation thereafter at your own expense. No accrual toward any other fringe benefit will continue during the time that you are on strike. Please understand that this letter is not be intended to interfere with your protected rights under the National Labor Relations Act, as those rights are explained to you by your Union, nor is it to be interpreted as a comment on your decision to exercise your right to engage in an economic strike.
As stated above, it is intended only to serve as an information letter concerning your compensation and benefits as of this date. You must realize that the PSI has an obligation to keep Heinz Hall open and operating to serve our patrons and others as they expect and as may be required. In order to do so, it may require us to hire replacement workers, either on a temporary or permanent basis, as will be determined by the business necessity that we face. If we take that course of action, the PSI will assure you that it will provide to you all rights that are required by law.
A copy of this letter has been provided to your Orchestra Committee representative, Mr. Micah Howard. If you have any questions, please raise them with Mr. Howard and us for further explanation, if necessary.
Senior Vice President & COO Pittsburgh Symphony, Inc.
Personnel details: Christian Schörnich joined the organisation as COO on January 1 this year, having previously worked at the United Nations. He is married to Pittsburgh Symphony violinist Eva Burmeister.
Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony said on his appointment: ‘Christian Schörnich brings incredible management expertise to the Pittsburgh Symphony. His strengths in finance, business operations, negotiations, and change management align with my priorities for the role and my vision for the growth of the Pittsburgh Symphony.’